You must renew your federal lobster permit and order new lobster trap tags if you intend to fish for lobsters in federal waters with trap gear during the 2023 fishing year. This guide outlines how to order your trap tags.
You must renew your permit on the Greater Atlantic Regional Office’s (GARFO) Fish Online. Fish Online is GARFO’s website where you can submit electronic vessel trip reports, check your landings data, and manage your vessel’s permits. In some cases, you may be required to order trap tags through your state fisheries agency, as explained below.
To fish with lobster traps in federal waters, you must:
- Be eligible to fish in at least one lobster management area
- Select at least one lobster management area, which your permit qualifies for, on your federal permit renewal application.
Once your federal permit is issued for fishing year 2023, we will forward the lobster management areas you select on your federal permit renewal application to Cambridge Security Seals (CSS) so they appear on your 2023 trap tags. Only fishing year 2023 tags purchased through CSS will be considered valid on or after June 1, 2023. If you purchase your trap tags through a state agency, you must choose the same lobster management areas on the state’s trap tag order forms that you have chosen on your federal permit renewal application. You must attach a 2023 trap tag to each fished lobster trap. The deadline for attaching the 2023 trap tags to your lobster traps is June 1, 2023.
Your federal lobster trap permit must be renewed before we will authorize CSS to issue tags for 2023.
Using the Trap Tag Order Form
Who should order trap tags using the order form?
You should order your lobster trap tags using the enclosed form if you have a federal lobster permit and your permit address is in: New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, or New York (*see below).
Who should not order tags with the order form?
If your federal lobster permit has a Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, or Rhode Island address, you must order your trap tags from your state agency.
Maine: If you have a federal lobster permit and a State of Maine lobster license, you must purchase your trap tags through the Maine Department of Marine Resources.
*New York: If you elect to fish in Area 6 only, you are required to purchase your trap tags from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.
Where do I send the completed form?
Cambridge Security Seals
One Cambridge Plaza
Pomona, NY 10970
How do I pay for the trap tags?
A cashier’s check or money order payable to Cambridge Security Seals (CSS), or a credit card authorization. CSS will not accept personal or corporate checks or cash.
Where do I send my tax exemption information?
Submit the state tax exemption form with your trap tag application. You may obtain these forms from your state’s Department of Revenue.
How long will it take to get my trap tags?
Once CSS received your order, it may take up to eight weeks to get your trap tags. For questions concerning orders, contact CSS at (845) 520-4111 ext. 117 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or you may contact us at (978) 281-9315.
How many trap tags can I order?
Your overall trap allocation is the lowest trap limit of all lobster trap areas designated on your 2023 permit. You may order that number of trap tags, plus an additional 10 percent to be used for trap tag losses (See guidance on tag loss below). For example, if you are allocated 800 traps, you may order 880 tags (800, plus 10 percent to be used for losses).
Who’s responsible for lost/destroyed trap tags?
The vessel owner or operator is accountable for all trap tags and is required to report all lost or destroyed tags, regardless of reason, to NOAA Fisheries within 7 days after the trap tags are known to be lost or destroyed. If NOAA Fisheries has a trap tag agreement with your state (Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, or Connecticut), follow the instructions provided by your state about replacing used, lost, or destroyed trap tags.
How do I report the trap tags that were lost or destroyed to NOAA Fisheries?
Submit a statement by email to Laura.Hansen@noaa.gov; or by mail to:
Lobster Trap Tag Replacement Program
55 Great Republic Drive
Gloucester, MA, 01930
What should the statement for lost/destroyed trap tags include?
A description of the events that resulted in the destruction or loss of trap tags, such as: date the tags were first known to be lost or destroyed; last known latitude and longitude coordinates of traps/tags; weather events or other suspected causes of loss; the date traps/tags were last seen; and any other information that will help us assess the circumstances of the loss.
Frequently Asked Questions
When will my 2023 lobster trap tags be valid?
2023 trap tags will be valid starting May 1, 2023 and must be on your traps by June 1, 2023. 2023 tags will remain valid through May 31, 2024. Note: 2022 federal lobster vessel permits expire April 30, 2023.
What if I purchased/sold traps in the Trap Transfer Program?
We have received and processed all trap transfers for the 2023 fishing year. If your transaction was approved, the transfer has been applied to your 2023 permit. In December 2022, we sent participants in the Trap Transfer Program their updated 2023 allocations. The allocation listed on that confirmation letter shows the correct number of trap tags available for purchase under the guidelines above.
Where can I get more information?
For questions regarding lobster management area designation and the Trap Transfer Program, contact us at (978) 281-9315. To download the form, visit the Greater Atlantic Region forms webpage.
Guidance on the Replacement of Used, Lost, or Destroyed Trap Tags
Replacement of Lost/Destroyed Tags Not Exceeding 10 percent of Total Trap Allocation
You must use your extra 10 percent allocation of trap tags to replace tags if the number of lost/destroyed tags does not exceed 10 percent of your total trap allocation. You may purchase the number of tags equal to 10 percent of your total trap allocation when making your initial trap tag order using the enclosed form. You do not need our approval to use your additional allocation for routine losses, but you are still required to report all lost/destroyed tags.
Replacement of Lost/Destroyed Trap Tags Exceeding 10 percent of Total Trap Allocation
If the number of lost/destroyed trap tags exceeds 10 percent of your total trap allocation, indicate the number of lost/destroyed trap tags you intend to replace in your statement of trap tag loss or destruction. Submit your statement regarding your trap tag loss to us. If you provide sufficient evidence of the loss/destruction of trap tags, we will approve your replacement request and a Lobster Trap Tag Replacement Authorization Form will be sent to you. Note that minimum trap tag orders must be made in multiples of ten (e.g., 10, 20, 30, etc.). Please complete the form and submit it, along with payment for the replacement trap tags, directly to Cambridge Security Seals only after you have received approval and a form from us.
Subsequent Trap Tag Orders
You may submit additional trap tag orders after reviewing your initial tag order under the following circumstances by using the Lobster Trap Tag Order Form:
- Orders to Purchase the Balance of Your Trap Tag Allocation: You are not required to purchase the total allowable allocation of trap tags for the areas that you designate for trap fishing, but you must order and pay for enough trap tags for the number of traps intended to be deployed. If you do not order the total amount of trap tags you are allowed now, you may order the remaining trap tags later by using the Lobster Trap Tag Order Form and submitting it directly with payment to Cambridge Security Seals.
- Orders for a Tag-for-Tag Exchange: You may remove the trap tags from traps that have been taken out of the water and return these trap tags along with a completed Lobster Trap Tag Order Form and payment to Cambridge Security Seals. You will then receive an equal amount of trap tags in return. All traps must have a valid trap tag attached to them in order to be deployed.
This bulletin serves as a Small Entity Compliance Guide, complying with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996.